Domestic Dusters

A project by Vanessa Marr

The ‘Women & Domesticity – What’s your Perspective?’ collaborative arts project, run by artist and academic Vanessa Marr since 2014, explores contemporary perspectives on the everyday lives of women. Through an open call, participants are invited to embroider their domestic thoughts, feelings, complaints, and celebrations as words or images onto a yellow duster. Each duster is unique and hand-stitched, transforming it from cleaning cloth to craftivist act. The ever-growing collection includes hundreds of dusters that have been exhibited and presented widely in community, creative and academic contexts across the UK, mainland Europe, and Florida, USA.  

Dusters were selected for embroidery and display as a metaphor for domesticity because they are mundane (like most domestic tasks), yet visually appealing in their brilliant bright yellow. This practice asks how hidden and silenced female domestic experiences can be voiced through collective craft practice, and explores how the duster, which signifies domesticity through our cultural knowledge of its purpose as a cleaning cloth, can act as a catalyst for change through collective making. Vanessa regularly promotes this work through exhibition in arts venues, community workshops, and academic publication. 

Contribute to the Domestic Dusters Collection

Throughout the course of Tangled Up, we will encourage our visitors and supporters to get involved in the project, by embroidering their own duster and attending a special talk and workshop by Vanessa during our Threads Textile Festival in June. Check back soon for more details and tickets!